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5 Squat Variations You Need To Try

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5 Squat Variations You Need To Try

Squats are one of the most beneficial exercises around: They work your entire lower body, toning and strengthening quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calf muscles, and give you a cardio boost to boot. If you’re looking for new ways to do squats, here are five fresh variations to liven up your routine and give you great results.

However, before you attempt to change up your squat variations, be sure you’ve mastered the basic, bodyweight squat.

Basic Squat

Begin by standing with your feet just slightly wider than hips. Stand tall with your spine neutral, and look straight ahead. Inhale, pressing your hips and butt backwards while lowering and bending at the knees until your hip joint is lower than your knees. Make sure your knees are tracking towards your toes. Never extend your knees past your toes. Exhale as you rise, pushing the floor away with your heels, driving your hips upward and squeezing your butt when you reach the top.

Tips to master the basic squat:

  • Feet: Weight should be on balls and heels, leaving toes free to wiggle throughout the entire movement.
  • Knees: Should line up with the middle toe.
  • Hamstrings: Should touch calves at the bottom of the squat.
  • Hips: Hip joint should sink lower than knees.
  • Core: Should be tight.
  • Back: Keep your spine neutral and back straight, with chest up and shoulders back.
  • Eyes: Gaze straight ahead, not looking up or down.

Try to stay as upright as possible throughout the entire exercise. If the basic squat is too challenging, you can always try squatting down and sitting on a box, using the same movements to lower and rise.

Pistol Squat

Begin by standing with your feet just slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Stand tall with your spine neutral, and look straight ahead. Inhale, pressing your hips and butt backwards while lowering and bending at the knees until your hip joint is lower than your knees. Exhale, lifting your left leg straight out in front of you and your arms reaching straight out. Inhale, sitting deeper into your squat on the right leg until your butt is almost touching your heel. Exhale, pressing the floor away from you with your right leg, leaving your left leg fully extended in front of you. Keep a tight core to maintain balance. Repeat on the other side.

Plie Squats On Tippy Toes

Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. There should be roughly a 1.5-2 foot distance between both feet, and your toes should be pointed outwards. To begin the movement, slowly lower yourself down into a sitting position such that your thighs are parallel to the ground. Your chest should be upright and your bottom back. Hold this for a second before pressing through your feet and bringing your hips back up to the start. Perform this movement from start-to-finish while standing on your tippy toes.

One-Legged Squat

Begin by standing with your feet just slightly wider than shoulder-width. Stand tall with your spine neutral, and look straight ahead. Inhale, pressing your hips and butt backwards while lowering and bending at the knees until your hip joint is lower than your knees. As you stand back up, lift your right bent leg up and across your body as you crunch forward with your abs, touching your right knee to your left elbow. Because this is across between a crunch and a squat, be sure to keep your abs contracted.

Squat Jump

Begin by standing with your feet just slightly wider than shoulder-width. Stand tall with your spine neutral, and look straight ahead. Inhale, pressing your hips and butt backwards while lowering about halfway into your squat. Exhale, jumping explosively into the air and then landing in a standing beginning position.

Goblet Squat

Begin by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell in your hands at chest height. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your core engaged. Inhale, pressing your hips and butt backwards into a full squat. Hold the squat while keeping the weight close to your chest. Press through the floor with your heels, sending your hips up and squeezing your glutes and hamstrings to rise to your starting position, maintaining a tight core throughout the exercise.

Squat benefits go beyond just toning your lower body. Squats can improve your core strength and balance, and increase the range of motion in your hips and ankles, leading to better flexibility. Squats also strengthen connective tissue and can improve knee health. If you’re worried about knee injuries, remember to master the basic squat, and always sink to the full squat position with hip joints lower than knees, since a half-squat will be more harmful to your knees. The next time you want to breathe new life into your workout routine, try one of the fun squat variations on for size.

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